Sunday, February 12, 2012

Cream Puffs and Mini Chocolate Donuts

Yesterday Mr. Pixie Crust and I hosted a "weekend before Valentine's Day" brunch for some of our family members and close friends. It was a lot of fun! We had a variety of breakfast foods, cream puffs, miniature donuts, and a mimosa bar. Even though my dear husband isn't one to naturally incline towards hosting large parties, he was very sweet to indulge my idea of having some special people over for a pre-Valentine's day affair.

A few weeks ago I made Pate a Choux for the first time, or, as it's more commonly known, the pastry part of a cream puff or eclair. Let me tell you- cream puffs are SO incredibly easy to convert into a gluten free recipe. Since there is so little flour in the recipe, I easily substituted AP flour for a mixture of rice flour, potato starch, and sorghum flour. Not only was the recipe easy to convert, but whether they're made the traditional way or the gluten free way, cream puffs are an example of a fancy, extra special dessert that are deceptively simple to make.

For our brunch, I made two versions: Strawberry mousse filled cream puffs topped with pink white chocolate glaze and traditional cream puffs filled with vanilla bean whipped cream and glazed with dark chocolate.

I've also included the recipe for these mini donuts below, which are also exceptionally simple to make. You can even use the same glaze for the chocolate cream puffs as you use on the donuts!

For the Pate a Choux (Adapted from Martha Stewart)
1/2 cup, plus 2 tbsp white rice flour
2 tbsp sorghum flour
1/4 cup potato starch
2 tsp sugar
1 cup water
1 stick butter
4 large eggs
*For non-gluten free readers, replace flours/starch with 1 cup AP flour

Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees.

Place butter, water, and sugar in a saucepan and heat until mixture comes to a boil. Remove from heat and add flour mixture. Stir with a spoon until batter come together. Allow batter to cool for 2 minutes and transfer to bowl of stand mixture. With paddle attachment on and mixer running, add eggs one at a time. Once batter is fully combined, place batter in a large pastry bag fitted with a large plain round tip. Pipe evenly sized rounds (about 2 tsp-1 tbsp worth of batter) 1-inch apart onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper.

With a wet finger, smooth pointy tops. Bake 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake until puffs are golden brown and feel light and hollow inside, 20 to 30 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks.

For the Strawberry Mousse filling:
1 1/4 cups fresh strawberry puree
1 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 tbsp fresh orange juice
3 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
4 tbsp unsalted butter

3/4 cup heavy whipping cream

Wash and slice 16 oz of fresh strawberries. Puree in blender. Pour mixture through sieve to filter pulp and seeds. Combine puree, cornstarch, lemon and orange juice, yolks and sugar in small sauce pan. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring continuously until mixture thickens (about 5-7 minutes). Remove from heat. Add butter and stir in until combined. Pour mixture through sieve and into a tupperware or mixing bowl. Place saran wrap directly over curd and place into the fridge to cool.

Once mixture has cooled, place whipping cream in bowl of stand mixture and whip with whisk attachment until thickened. Carefully fold strawberry curd into whipped cream until fully incorporated.

To assemble:

Once puffs are cooled, poke a small hole in the side of each one. Fit pastry bag with medium/small round tip and fill with mousse. Fill each puff with mousse.

For the white chocolate coating:

Scant 2/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tbsp corn syrup
6 oz white chocolate
a few drops of red or pink food coloring

Heat cream and corn syrup over medium heat until sides are bubbly and hot (but not boiling). Remove from heat and stir in chocolate and food coloring until smooth and combined. Dip cream puffs immediately.

For the mini chocolate donuts: (makes about 30 donuts)

2 tbsp potato starch
2 tbsp sorghum flour
1/2 cup, plus 2 tbsp white rice flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup warm water
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 cup canola oil
1 egg

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees and generously spray or butter mini donut pan.

Combine the flours, cocoa powder, salt, and baking soda in bowl of stand mixer. Add brown sugar, sour cream, warm water, vanilla, 1 egg and canola oil. Mix until well combined.

Fill a pastry bag with batter and pipe into cavities of mini donut pan, filling each about 1/2 way full. Bake donuts for 7-9 minutes. Allow to cool in pan before removing and baking next batch.

For the Chocolate Glaze:

1/3 cup, plus 2 tbsp heavy whipping cream
1 tbsp corn syrup
4 oz dark chocolate

Combine cream and corn syrup in a small sauce pan and heat over low-medium heat until sides are bubbly and hot. Remove from heat and add chocolate, stirring until smooth. Use immediately after making to glaze cooled donuts.


  1. For the record, I'm very much inclined to hosting large parties. They're just more of the sort that involve pizza, beer and inappropriately loud music.